Crispy and spicy breaded pork cutlets with a Southwestern salad makes a delightful meal. Drizzle my irresistible creamy chipotle dressing over the charred corn and avocado salad to enjoy with the fried pork cutlets.
A pork cutlets recipe is a weeknight easy go-to dinner. Not to mention, it's also a crowd favorite. I put a twist on these fried pork cutlets by adding a spicy seasoning to the bread crumb coating.
I love to serve these cutlets with my fresh Southwestern salad recipe. The base is an avocado corn salad with greens and a chipotle salad dressing. It's a dinner full of flavor perfect for summer.
Spicy Breaded Pork Cutlets
It's easy to make cutlets from a pork tenderloin. I show you how to slice the pieces, pound them thin, then dredge them in breading and fry them in a skillet.
This simple process produces a light, crispy coating on the outside of the thin piece of pork, creating a perfectly cooked cutlet to go with salad.
I've seasoned these fried pork cutlets with Southwest flavors, making them "milanesa," the Mexican word for breaded and fried meat.
In Austria and Germany, you would call this "schnitzel," in Japan it's "tonkatsu," and in France it's "escalope." Whatever the language, these crispy, golden cutlets that are breaded and sizzled to perfection are worth their weight in gold.
I serve these spicy breaded pork cutlets alongside a mixed green salad with plenty of charred corn, avocado, and chives to round out a lovely Southwestern flavor profile. Add my creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy chipotle yogurt dressing and you've just traveled to the end of the food-heaven rainbow.
Chipotle Salad Dressing Ingredients
I've made a creamy yogurt chipotle dressing for the salad in this meal. It also serves as the sauce for the pork cutlets.
You probably have the ingredients in your pantry already. I keep a can of chipotle peppers in adobo in my pantry to add to soups, sauces, dressings, and meats.
If you ever open a can of chipotle and don't use it all, I like to freeze the remaining peppers and adobo in a ziplock bag, smashed flat. When needed I open the bag and break off a shard of the chilis and sauce and add to my recipe.
Here are the ingredients you'll need for the dressing and sauce:
- Whole-milk yogurt: I like the richness that comes from full-fat yogurt, but you could use lower fat too.
- White wine vinegar: Has a mild and almost fruity flavor.
- Sugar: Adds balance with all of the savory and acidic flavors.
- Lime juice: Fresh squeezed lime juice is always better than the bottled stuff.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo: I always have a can of these on hand.
- Kosher salt: This is more mild than table salt and is easy to measure.
Ingredients For Fried Pork Cutlets and Southwest Salad
- Pork tenderloin: Make sure to find a tenderloin and not a pork loin.
- Plain bread crumbs: Don't buy the pre-seasoned kind.
- Chili powder: For flavor and a little Southwestern spice.
- Egg: This adheres the breading to the pork and helps make it thick and crisp.
- Oil: I like to use extra-virgin olive oil in salad dressings and sauces, and avocado or canola for frying because they have a higher smoke point.
- Corn: Fresh corn off the cob is my favorite. Trader Joes has a great frozen charred corn if you have one near you.
- Mixed baby greens: Use your preferred blend.
- Chives: For flavor and beauty.
- Avocado: Pairs perfectly with Southwestern flavor and adds rich creaminess.
- Lime wedges: For garnish and to add a squeeze of bright flavor.
How To Make Spicy Breaded Pork Cutlets And Southwestern Salad
- For the Southwest salad dressing combine the yogurt, vinegar, lime juice, water, chipotle chili and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
- With the blender running add the olive oil.
- Slice the pork tenderloin and pound each round to ¼-inch thickness. You will place each piece between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy pot.
- Season each cutlet with salt and then place on a baking sheet as set aside.
- Bread the cutlets. Combine the bread crumbs and chili powder in a wide, shallow dish.
- Whisk together egg and lime juice in another shallow bowl.
- Dip each cutlet in the egg mixture, then in bread crumbs, coating well. I like to use one hand for the egg dipping and one hand for the bread crumb dipping so my fingers don't get too breaded themselves!
- Transfer cutlets back to baking sheet.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add half of the cutlets and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total.
- Transfer cooked cutlets to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
- Char the corn. Heat a little bit of oil in a cast iron skillet and add two ears of corn, cooking until charred on all sides. You can also give them a quick turn on a hot grill.
- Let cool and cut the corn off the cobs. Or use frozen, thawed, corn, and broil it for two minutes on a baking sheet.
- Gently toss the corn with salad greens, avocado, and chives. Serve salad alongside cutlets, with dressing drizzled all over both, and lime wedges on the side.
Pork Cutlets with Southwestern Salad FAQs
Try swapping pork for either chicken or turkey cutlets. Just make sure to slice or pound them to about ¼ inch thickness so they cook quickly.
Absolutely. Simply swap the bread crumbs for gluten-free bread crumbs.
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Southwestern Salad with Spicy Breaded Pork Cutlets
- ¾ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 chipotle chili from a 7-ounce can chipotle in adobo seeds discarded
- 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 1¼-pound pork tenderloin silver skin removed
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 4 tablespoons canola or avocado oil divided
- 2 ears corn husked and charred
- 5 ounces (1 bag) mixed baby greens
- ⅕ cup chopped chives
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Combine yogurt, vinegar, lime juice, water, the chipotle chili adobo sauce, and kosher salt in a blender; blend until smooth. With blender running, add olive oil in a slow stream, blending until thickened and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
- Cut tenderloin into eight pieces crosswise. Place each piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound gently with a meat mallet or heavy pot to ¼-inch thickness. Lightly sprinkle cutlets with salt. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Combine bread crumbs and chili powder in a wide, shallow dish or pie pan. Whisk together egg and lime juice in a shallow bowl. Dip cutlets, 1 at a time, in egg mixture (allowing excess to drip back into bowl), then in bread crumbs, turning to coat well. Transfer back to baking sheet.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add half of the cutlets and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer cooked cutlets to a serving platter and wipe out pan with paper towel. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and cook remaining cutlets as described above.
- Cut kernels from corn and add to a large bowl. Gently toss with salad greens, avocado, and chives. Serve salad alongside cutlets, with dressing drizzled over both and lime wedges for squeezing.